by Fatal Syndrome
This is the final entry in a special series by guest authors this week. See them all, here.
As the Late October wind blew across the fields today, the smell of freshly cut grass was arresting, and I took an ice cold sip from a sweaty bottle of water to quench the rising thirst within me. I leaned back against the hot metal of my car and surveyed the job my uncle had done on the acres of land.
I am a woman from a family of rough men and rough boys who grow into rough men, and my uncle is no exception.
“Can’t believe it took me eight hours to get all this shit done,” he said.
“It looks good though. You edged it nicely.”
“I know it’s good, babe.”
The familiar nickname makes my heart swell; all my uncles call me ‘babe,’ as if it were my name.
“Your dad is a detail oriented man.”
That’s his nice way of saying my dad is an asshole with control problems and we both know that… it doesn’t need to be said. Family secrets are only secrets if you’re not family.
He sips the cold beer I’ve brought him from inside of my parents’ house. They’re not home now, but neither are beer drinkers and I know they only keep it around for him anyway. He’s covered in sweat and grass and dirt and he says there is nothing like a beer after a hard day of manual labor and I nod my head. I don’t like beer, except on rare occasions, and certainly not American beer.
I am as different from the rough men of my family as the night is from the day.
The wind rattles the crisp leaves on the trees and he gestures with dirty knuckles to the old, rusted trampoline positioned just beneath the largest oak tree.
“You ever jump on that anymore when you’re here?”
“No… no… it’s all beat out and springs are rusted… it’s too dangerous now.”
“You used to love that thing though, didn’t you?”
Memories overwhelm me, making time lapse, the present pauses, I am returned: the smell of high summer beating down on dirt and grass and my patch of garden that never quite gets enough water, last night’s rain and the impending storm, ozone and sunflowers and the smell of gasoline and the sound of tools clanking in car engines and men cursing and laughing, and music blaring, echoing off the deep garage on the far side of the property, and the way my journal would block out the sun if I held it over my face, re-reading angsty entries, and how dusty my cheeks got if I pressed them against the trampoline to hide my delicate features from the sun, and the feel of jumping, of leaping and reaching for the bottom-most branches of the oak tree… the way it felt to kiss a boy in the rain, laying on the trampoline, and hiding beneath it, as if we’d stay dry, instead just finding ourselves muddy as our hands roved and our eyes closed. The way I used to lay inside the pseudo shade and listen to the screaming and the fighting, smelling the Jack Daniels from inside of the house, and how I used to camp out nights behind it when I couldn’t sleep for the sobbing and watching the stars with tears in my eyes because the universe, the vast, unending void of space and star stuff was inconceivably beautiful and unknowable and so much more desirable than hiding in the dead of night on top of a trampoline.
“That was a long time ago,” I murmur, still lost in my thoughts.
I love the fall… I love October. I love all the ways the seasons change and move. I am nomadic by nature and by blood and the change is comforting. Visiting my parents is always a reminder of change… of the ways we’ve changed, of how I’ve changed and grown and accepted and forgiven, but never forgotten.
I’ve thought so much about change lately… the changes that are happening, the changes that are coming, what a different person I am today compared to last year this time–how my happiness has returned and swelled, how at peace I am and am *trying* to be. The changes in my body as I come alive from years of emotional torment and criminal neglect, and attempt to regain some center of self, attempt to become happy with *me* inside and, selfishly, vainly, importantly, outside.
I think about the way my relationships have morphed over the years, one relationship in particular… perhaps my most important relationship. I marvel at the differences in interactions, the way our tones have changed, our words, our movements, how desperate and important and raw everything seems, like the passion is brand new again, like we’ve been renewed.
I’ve spent a lot of time reading my old blog posts, and even older blog posts that I’ve hidden from the general public, and I’m struggling with writing because of all of the change. I read my words and I don’t see myself, as I’ve known her, there anymore. My voice doesn’t sound like my voice. Better perhaps, rather than worse, happier, yes, and finding it hard to share, finding it hard to speak, to write, to project, when I am just so content to live. I am an agent of change, happiest when in flux, most alive when in the throes of chaos, and yet change has stymied me, for a time.
For a time.
Such is the nature of change. And though I have been static, in a funk, watching as the change passes me by, I’m feeling renewed too, reinvigorated, I’m feeling the stasis sloughing off.
Change stabilizes us and keeps us sane. Change keeps us guessing and makes life interesting.
Change is necessary.